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# Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Da

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Senior Manager
Status: PhD-trained. Education, Research, Teaching, Training, Consulting and Advisory Services
Joined: 23 Apr 2019
Posts: 439
Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Da  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2019, 06:44
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25% (medium)

Question Stats:

75% (01:50) correct 25% (02:26) wrong based on 142 sessions

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Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Data recently transmitted by a spacecraft strongly suggest that there are oceans of liquid water deep under the ice. Life as we know it could evolve only in the presence of liquid water. Hence, it is likely that at least primitive life has evolved on Europa.

The science journalist’s argument is most vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it

(A) takes for granted that if a condition would be necessary for the evolution of life as we know it, then such life could not have evolved anywhere that this condition does not hold

(B) fails to address adequately the possibility that there are conditions necessary for the evolution of life in addition to the presence of liquid water

(C) takes for granted that life is likely to be present on Europa if, but only if, life evolved on Europa

(D) overlooks the possibility that there could be unfamiliar forms of life that have evolved without the presence of liquid water

(E) takes for granted that no conditions on Europa other than the supposed presence of liquid water could have accounted for the data transmitted by the spacecraft
Senior Manager
Status: PhD-trained. Education, Research, Teaching, Training, Consulting and Advisory Services
Joined: 23 Apr 2019
Posts: 439
Re: Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Da  [#permalink]

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06 Aug 2019, 08:14
Hovkial wrote:
Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Data recently transmitted by a spacecraft strongly suggest that there are oceans of liquid water deep under the ice. Life as we know it could evolve only in the presence of liquid water. Hence, it is likely that at least primitive life has evolved on Europa.

The science journalist’s argument is most vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it

(A) takes for granted that if a condition would be necessary for the evolution of life as we know it, then such life could not have evolved anywhere that this condition does not hold

(B) fails to address adequately the possibility that there are conditions necessary for the evolution of life in addition to the presence of liquid water

(C) takes for granted that life is likely to be present on Europa if, but only if, life evolved on Europa

(D) overlooks the possibility that there could be unfamiliar forms of life that have evolved without the presence of liquid water

(E) takes for granted that no conditions on Europa other than the supposed presence of liquid water could have accounted for the data transmitted by the spacecraft

Structure of science journalist's statement:

"Liquid water was found on Europa. We know that life can evolve only if there is liquid water. Hence I conclude that life has evolved on Europa."

Clearly, the journalist has made a leap of faith. Although water is essential for life, it may not be the only attribute required for life to evolve.

The relation between the premise - "water was found" - and conclusion - "hence life exists" does not naturally follow because other important elements are ignored.

Based on the disconnection between premise and conclusion, the question now becomes easy to answer.

(A) takes for granted that if a condition would be necessary for the evolution of life as we know it, then such life could not have evolved anywhere that this condition does not hold

INCORRECT

There is no claim about evolution of life elsewhere but on Europa. Notice the double negatives that are included to cause confusion.

(B) fails to address adequately the possibility that there are conditions necessary for the evolution of life in addition to the presence of liquid water

CORRECT

Directly address the disconnection between premise and conclusion.

(C) takes for granted that life is likely to be present on Europa if, but only if, life evolved on Europa

INCORRECT

Circular argument that is unrelated to the premise. Addresses irrelevant point.

(D) overlooks the possibility that there could be unfamiliar forms of life that have evolved without the presence of liquid water

INCORRECT

Addresses irrelevant points. There could well be unfamiliar forms of life that could have evolved without water, but this subject is not considered in original statement.

(E) takes for granted that no conditions on Europa other than the supposed presence of liquid water could have accounted for the data transmitted by the spacecraft

INCORRECT

Addresses irrelevant points. Life could have evolved on Europa without water, but this subject is not considered in original statement.
Re: Science journalist: Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is covered with ice. Da   [#permalink] 06 Aug 2019, 08:14